AMME Seminar 24.10.23: ‘Built and Grown Environments’

We are pleased to announce that this fall’s second Ancient and Medieval Middle East (AMME) seminar will be organised as a hybrid event on Tuesday(!) 24 October (16:15-18:00 EEST/Helsinki time).

The session will consist of two papers – by Lucía Ruano Posada and Doğa Karakaya – followed by a shared question round and discussion on the seminar specific theme of ‘built and grown environments’. The topics of the talks are:

‘Earth Building in Humid Environments: The Iberian Cantabrian Façade as a Case Study (Dr. Lucía Ruano Posada)

The architecture along the Cantabrian coast has traditionally been regarded in the collective imagination as a realm dominated by stone and wood, where domestic structures and auxiliary constructions have predominantly been erected using these materials. However, archaeological excavations frequently uncover evidence of earth-based construction methods, indicating the presence of diverse building techniques and traditions throughout history. Regrettably, there has been limited interest in earth architecture in the northern Iberian Peninsula, both from an ethnographic and archaeological perspective. This has resulted in a lack of attention towards earth constructions, leading to a concerning terminological confusion in the literature and a scarcity of specific studies.

In this presentation, we introduce an ongoing project with the objective of studying and characterizing earth construction techniques throughout prehistory on the Cantabrian coast, taking an interdisciplinary approach that considers the construction traditions present throughout history, and even to this day, in the Atlantic Arch. Through this endeavor, we aim to gain a better understanding of the various operational chains of the construction methods and contribute to comprehending the unique social processes of prehistoric Cantabrian populations.

Palaeoethnobotanical and Isotopic Research and the Reconstruction of Human-Environment Interactions in the Orontes Watershed, south-central Türkiye’ (Dr. Doğa Karakaya)

Against the background of today’s climate emergency, including the threats of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels due to excessive consumption of fossil fuels and environmental degradation resulting from unsustainable agriculture and industrialization, paleoenvironmental research has gained a new momentum over the past two decades, as it is used to disentangle the intrinsic relationships between humans, environment, and climate. Archaeologists are growingly interested in related research topics, including the sustainability of food resources during climatic perturbations or the resiliency of socio-economic systems to past environmental stressors, often focusing on the archaeological transitions with evidence for correlated climatic and social change. The transitional periods from Early Bronze to Middle Bronze Age and from Late Bronze to Iron Age (4.200 BP. and 3.200 BP. events respectively) are intensively discussed regarding the potential role of environmental degradation as a trigger for the abrupt decline of the complex societies.

In this talk, the ancient plant remains from two settlements, Tell Tayinat and Zincirli Höyük, will be described to distinguish environmental, climatic and anthropogenic factors that might have affected the environmental stability in the lower Orontes Basin. Our analysis aims to diachronically compare the ecological characteristics of different plant species through the Early and Middle Bronze and Early Iron Ages. To date, approximately 300 palaeoethnobotanical samples have been analyzed from both sites, resulting in classification of more than 200 plant categories. The palaeoethnobotanical results indicate that although both sites are located along the same geological formation in the Orontes Watershed and have identical crop production patterns through ages, the wild plants are particularly different signaling diverse ecological conditions. The ancient plant remains from Tell Tayinat and Zincirli offer several important aspects to investigate climatic and/or anthropogenic impacts on the environmental conditions, human agricultural decision, crop growing conditions, and soil fertility.

All are welcome, so please share the news, note the unusual weekday, and join us in person or online!

Time: TUESDAY 24 October at 16:15-18:00 EEST (UTC+3h).

Live venue: Language centre, 1st floor, room 105 / Kielikeskus, 1.krs., sh. 105 (Fabianinkatu 26).

Virtual venue: Zoom (Meeting ID: 678 8979 2118 /

Wonder what else is on the menu? Check the AMME fall program on the ANEE news blog!